Re: Slovakia's corruption is democratic, Readers' feedback, Sep 6-12, Vol 10, No 34
I agree that people's hearts and minds have to be at one with the system, otherwise the result is meaningless rules. I also agree that it is a problem when corruption occurs behind closed doors, and when a society does little to protect whistleblowers.
I completely disagree that making corruption available to the masses can in any way, shape, or form, reduce the corruption of the elite behind closed doors, which is what it seems [Brian Reynolds] is implying, when he justifies corruption in Slovak society. "Democratic" corruption is not a solution. It is not an option.
A poor farmer paying a bribe to a doctor is not influencing the public health system: he is forced to participate according to the rules and the norms of his environment. There is no choice. It is cheaper to bribe the doctor than to take someone to court. When it becomes too expensive of a risk for the doctor to accept a bribe is when the system becomes more democratic, and all who have legal rights to healthcare don't have to play the game of corruption to get what they already deserve.
Who cares whether corruption is democratic in Germany or elsewhere?
The more corruption there is the higher the cost to the economy. Valuable resources could be spent more efficiently without corruption. There is no good economic reason to spread corruption and increase its presence.
What sort of ethical reasoning would justify people in a given society to accept being worse off economically? There is a clear correlation between countries with widespread corruption and poverty (India, Russia, Brazil). These are hardly countries where the poor masses have more rights, more chance for economic success, or more access to better healthcare because of corruption.
You can say there is corruption everywhere, but you can't say a society is more transparent because you can see smaller forms of corruption on a daily basis. Big deals will always be done behind closed doors. A Sk500 bribe for a traffic ticket won't stop the police from covering up a murder for a few hundred thousand crowns. On the contrary, bad behaviour needs to be punished, not rewarded; otherwise it becomes more of a rich man's world where bribing is the most important value.
13. Sep 2004 at 0:00